Rather frustratingly, I’d actually typed out a long history about KLCC, but WordPress ate it and it’s nowhere to be found. Here we go again…
The Petronas Twin Towers – 88 stories, and part of the greater KLCC complex (including a park, two hotels, conventionn center, mall, mosque and another two office blocks) – put Malaysia on the map for megaprojects. Opened in 1998, the towers were designed by Cesar Pelli and completed by competing Korean and Japanese firms. It was paid for entirely by petroleum revenues from the eponymous national oil company; during the Asian Financial Crisis, occupancy was low – again with the exception of the name tenant – these days, things are back to normal and space is at a hideous premium, even on an international level. Architecturally, the site is challenging as it’s a former racecourse with very little bedrock and a lot of clay and porous limestone; this is the main reason for putting the taller, heavier structures around the periphery. Even so, extensive piling and foundation works had to be done, and many of the lower basement levels underneath the main towers are filled with concrete to settle the ground and form a floating slab on which some of the other outlying structures sit.
Like every other landmark, this building has probably been shot to death by most photographers visiting or living in Kuala Lumpur; it’s therefore very difficult to get new or unique perspectives. I’m no exception – I’ve shot this building and the surrounding park with no end of different cameras, conditions and times of day. The pedestrian areas are actually quite lousy for street photography as they’re too open or indoors and too dimly lit; no matter because the architectural details are fantastic. The towers have a stainless-steel cladding that’s beautifully textured and reflects light in interesting ways; it’s especially suited to film photography because of the wide tonal range it produces. Unlike other buildings in Malaysia, this one has been well-maintained and is kept clean; sadly not the case for most places – the new Bank Negara headquarters is a good example – its titanium cladding has rainwater stains after just one year.
On an unrelated note, today is also my birthday – I’m 27, for those of you who are curious. I’m sure there’s a metaphor or moral of sorts about going around in circles and me posting a set of images from a frequented location with an older camera…for the life of me I can’t quite figure out what it is, though. Perhaps I’m just getting old 😉
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